Ten Writing Prompts

As part of my creative writing course, we had to create our own writing prompts. I felt pretty proud of mine, so I thought I’d share them with you!

  1. In a public place, create a story from the first thing you hear someone say.
  2. Avoid using punctuation (except that which changes the word, like an apostrophe).
  3. Write a conversation without direct speech.
  4. Look on your local ‘buy and sell’ page, write something about an item listed.
  5. Write about what frustrates you.
  6. Create a menu without naming any foods.
  7. Pick an emotion and describe it. Once done, write it again, but opposite (i.e. if your chosen emotion was negative, then the rewrite will be positive).
  8. Write about something human that you can’t see, e.g. electricity, wi-fi.
  9. Find an old Facebook post. Write as you did then.
  10. Make the most boring thing you can think of interesting.

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Finally have a picture that I took at uni as a prompt!

Christmas and Birthday Book Haul

I got a few books for christmas and my birthday (the 29th) and so I want to share them with you. I also bought a few on my birthday / with my birthday money and so I’ll list those too! There are a fair few for christmas because my family like to ask what we want, so I always ask for certain books, I’m not going to list who they’re from but if you happen to read this and you gave me one / some… thank you!

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Christmas

The Wonder – Emma Donoghue

The Sellout – Paul Beatty

Hot Milk – Deborah Levy

Eileen – Ottessa Moshfegh

All That Man Is – David Szalay

His Bloody Project – Graeme Macrea Burnet

Do Not Say We Have Nothing – Madeleine Thien

Half of a Yellow Moon, Purple Hibiscus, Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

American Gods – Neil Gaiman

Submarine – Joe Dunthorne

Trainspotting – Irvine Welsh

The Book of Memory – Petina Gappah

Down and Out in Paris and London – George Orwell

Burmese Days – George Orwell

On Writing – Stephen King

Jane Austen Boxed Set

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Birthday

White Teeth – Zadie Smith

The Art of Fiction – John Gardner

The Road to Wigan Pier – George Orwell

Homage to Catalonia – George Orwell

The Penguin Lessons – Tom Michell

Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood

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Purchased on My Birthday

Les Misérables – Victor Hugo (I bought a pretty edition – I did already have a copy of this)

The Casual Perfect – Lavinia Greenlaw

The Beach – Alex Garland

God Bless You, Mr Rosewater – Kurt Vonnegut

 

Ebooks Purchased

(these were all on offer – £1.19 was the most I paid for one of the books, the rest were less)

The Dark Days Club – Alison Goodman

The Bone Season – Samantha Shannon

Our Chemical Hearts – Krystal Sutherland

This Savage Song – V. E. Schwab

Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls – Lynn Weingarten

The Essex Serpent – Sarah Perry

We All Looked Up – Tommy Wallach

 

 

My 2017 Goals

(I’m just noting here that my five books I want to read this year will be going up soon however two of the books are at uni and so I want to take a photo of all five for the post!)

Reading Goals

  • Read 25 books – I’ve set my goodreads goal pretty low this year, as last year it was 75. However last year I started well but never actually achieved my goal (I read 71), and spent the whole year feeling guilty if I picked up a longer book. A Little Life was incredible, but I’ve never felt so guilty about reading a book I truly loved, and I definitely don’t want to feel that way again.
  • Read longer books – This is the main reason I wanted to set a lower goodreads goal, I have so many, especially as I didn’t pick them up in 2016, but they look absolutely amazing.
  • Don’t feel pressured to read – Okay, so when it comes to uni books, I probably need to feel more pressured, but I’m focusing here on reading for pleasure. I found myself last year choosing books because of their length and not because I genuinely wanted to read them, and again, I don’t want to feel that way this year.

Blogging / Youtube Goals

  • Post once a week minimum – last week I aimed too high with three times a week and fell completely on my face. This year I’m aiming to post every thursday (this may change in september with my new timetable but for the first half of 2017 thursday should be okay) and then build it up if I have extra posts. I’d love to post three times a week but sometimes it’s not possible and I feel bad if I don’t.
  • Post wrap ups and hauls on Youtube – planning, filming, editing and uploading a video every week is just too much for me to manage as I have a busy schedule and other things that must take priority. However, I do enjoy making videos and so I’m hoping to try to film more. I may or may not write a post on the changes I plan to make regarding my youtube videos, but as yet I’m not sure if I will. If I don’t, expect them to be more vlog-style.

Uni Goals

  • Read all of my texts on time – Pretty self explanatory but last semester / term I failed miserably, being a fresher is surprisingly hectic and I found myself regularly going to the lecture or seminar with half a text (if any) read. This has to change!

 

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(I didn’t know what picture to opt for with this post so have this pretty one of my uni that I took in autumn)

 

Recommendations: Contemporaries

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I love contemporary books, it’s one of my favourite genres. Summer is the perfect time to read them, though they’re the type of book that I pick up all year round, and I thought that I’d share some of my favourites (these are not in an order). Any that I have reviewed should be linked.

I nearly missed this off my list… How? HOW?! It’s amazing and perfect and ugh.

  • Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, Isla and the Happily Ever After – Stephanie Perkins

I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about them already, but they really are fabulous.

  • One – Sarah Crossan

This made me cry, it’s so wonderful.

This was such a gorgeous story.

One of my favourites of last year.

  • Am I Normal Yet? – Holly Bourne

I’m so looking forward to finishing this trilogy.

  • Since You’ve Been Gone, Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour – Morgan Matson

Since You’ve Been Gone is my favourite of the two, but Morgan Matson is fast becoming one of my favourite writers, I can’t wait to read her other two.

This was such a wonderful read.

  • Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell

I think everyone has heard of or read this, but it deserves the hype.

  • Faceless – Alyssa Sheinmel

There is very little romance in this, and it was so refreshing.

I loved the characters in this novel and also the narration is unique and interesting.

Have you read any contemporaries that you’ve enjoyed? Let me know!

A Trip to Shakespeare’s Birthplace

Over the past couple of years I have begun to fall in love with Shakespeare’s work. Now, as I have grown a little older and mature and I’ve been studying English Literature at a much higher level (A level), I seem to understand the message and wit in his plays and enjoy them so much more.

I live around a 45 minute drive from Stratford-Upon-Avon, which I know is lucky, and it wasn’t my first time visiting (in fact I’ve visited many times before as I absolutely adore it). Just last April I was there with my Dad to watch the Royal Shakespeare Company’s performance of Hamlet, which was incredible.

Now that I’ve finished my A levels, we decided to take a trip to Stratford again to have a look around his birthplace (and of course, visit the book shop) before it gets too busy in the summer holidays. It was lovely, and though it was small and didn’t take long to go around, it was really interesting. My ticket also covered entrance to his daughter’s house (you can’t buy a ticket to just his birthplace) so we had a look around there too, and it was a lot grander but still interesting.

It’s somewhere I’ve wanted to go for a while now, having become such a lover of Shakespeare. The bookshop is amazing; there are so many editions of his plays to choose from and I bought way too many, which I’ll show in a moment. I also bought an amazing mug with Shakespeare’s insults on (I do believe that the world would be a much better place if everyone used Elizabethan insults instead). I thought I’d post a mini-haul on here, and share with you which books I got. They had some special editions which were absolutely gorgeous, and then I bought three of the Royal Shakespeare Company editions too.

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The Penguin Special Birthplace editions:

The Tempest (blue), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (green), Romeo and Juliet (pink) and The Sonnets and A lover’s Complaint (patterned).

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Royal Shakespeare Company editions:

King Lear, Hamlet (which is my all-time favourite play) and Othello.

If you’re ever near the area, I’d definitely recommend stopping by and having a look, as it was fascinating to see where Shakespeare grew up and lived before he became famous. Stratford-Upon-Avon is such a gorgeous place as well, it’s absolutely worth a visit.

Finally Getting My Act Together

So I would feel awkward if I just suddenly got back to how I want my blog to be with regular posts etc without writing something to a) apologise for my long, long absence and b) explain where I’ve been and what I’ve got planned.

So… Sorry about my long absence, it should not happen again because I never have exams again. Never has an apology felt so good.

As you can probably guess, I have been doing exams. Nine and a half hours of sitting in silence (except for one of them where a bunch of year sixes were allowed to run riot right outside the door to the exam room, whilst screaming at each other) and I am now free. I have my leavers’ assembly and meal this Thursday, though if I’m brutally honest I’m not bothered about going at all. It’s just something I feel I have to go to. And I need to give my textbooks back.

But yes, come September I will be starting university *cheers*. I have been lucky enough to get an unconditional offer for my dream course so I will definitely be starting at UEA, which makes me extremely excited, as I’ve already met a load of people on my course, and they’re all so so lovely. I will be studying English Literature with Creative Writing (no surprise there) and my course (here’s the exciting bit) is assessed just by coursework. Meaning I won’t disappear for three months. Maybe two weeks if I’m disorganised and don’t schedule any posts (because this is me we’re talking about, and I have the organisational skills of a loaf of bread).

I will, at some point, be starting my youtube channel again, though I think I want to get back to normal with my blog first as I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew as I’d like some reading time too – I need to catch up with my goodreads goal (though I’m only four books behind, which I’m pretty pleased about). Or I may start initially with a video every two weeks. I’m not entirely sure yet (see my previous comment about my organisational skills).

So yes, I think that’s all for now. I do plan (hopefully) on sharing some more of my creative work on here, be it responses to prompts in some of my creative writing books (which I can finally use), or something I’ve written off the top of my head. I also may branch out from books from time to time, though I’m unsure. I’ve made some big changes in my life recently that I’d love to share with you as I’ve been surprised by how easy they have been to make. Obviously come September I will talk about uni, I mean, I talk about it constantly now.

Books That I Want to Reread in 2016

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I know it’s quite late to be posting this, but I’ve been watching a few videos or Booktubers talking about the books that they want to reread this year and it got me thinking. I used to reread a lot, but I haven’t for a while now, since gaining a lot more books, but there are some (mainly series) that I would love to go back and revisit, for different reasons.

The House of Night series – P. C. and Kristen Cast

This is one of my all time favourite series. I first read it around seven years ago and I’ve read the earlier books multiple times. I know that it has a lot of mixed reviews, but I started reading it before my decision could probably be influenced and I fell in love with it pretty much straight away. I haven’t reread it for a while now, and I am desperate to revisit the story. I’m considering maybe a book a month as there are twelve, although one month will have to have two, as I won’t get chance to start it this month. I daren’t marathon the whole lot as last time I did that it put me in such a long reading slump because I couldn’t get over the books and I don’t want that to happen again!

The Harry Potter Series – JK Rowling

Need I explain? Believe it or not, I’ve only read this series once, and I have never read the final book. However, since joining bookstagram / booktube seeing everyone’s posts has made me want to read it again. Also my friend (you know who you are because I’m 99% sure you will read this!) has recently read it and won’t stop talking about it and it’s made me want to read it again!

The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

I don’t know why, but I just really feel the urge to reread this one. I’m one of those people who rarely cries at books (and pretty much never at films) but this one had me laughing then sobbing and then laughing through my tears, and I just really want to experience that emotion again (I know, I’m weird, but I think every book lover has wanted to reread an emotional book over and over again).

1984 and Animal Farm – George Orwell

I’m going through a George Orwell phase, I’ll admit it. and I really want to read his two most favourite books again. Adult dystopian is one of my favourite genres and 1984 is the dystopian to read. I read both of these about five years ago, so it’s about time for a reread. When I read Animal Farm I read it when I was thirteen and I didn’t fully understand it, not in the way I would now. So I want to read it and appreciate it now I’m old enough to thoroughly understand what it’s saying.

Holes – Louis Sachar

I recently found this book out as I was rearranging my bookshelf (I made a new one so that I can fit pretty much all of my paperbacks on it) and remembered how much of an enjoyable book it actually was. It’s short and a younger book, but I think it will be fun to sit down and reread a book from when I was 12 / 13.

Three books that I want to reread but aren’t such a priority compared to the others:

The Giver – Lois Lowry

This book is just amazing. It was the first book that I read in 2015 and it has embedded itself in my mind and I just want to absorb it again. Honestly, it’s fantastically written and a wonderful (dystopian) story which is thought provoking and interesting (my kind of dystopian basically) and it’s really short, so it won’t take long to read.

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

This is one of my favourite books and I just want to relive the story again and again. I love the interesting narration and the setup of the book and it’s just brilliant. Also, the film is actually really good for this book – I’m not normally a film person and I had such low expectations as I wasn’t sure how they’d work with the narrator but they did such a great job in my opinion and I’d highly recommend it.

Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell

This is such a cute book and I love Cath as a character (I love all of the characters to be honest) and I repeatedly see it on bookstagram, booktube and blogs which have all made me want to reread it and fall in love with it again. (But first, I want to read Carry On).

Are there any old favourites that you want to reread at some point this year? Do you reread books a lot or not so often?